Road selection is a policy matter - Shaw
STEPHEN SHAW, the manager of communications and customer service at the National Works Agency (NWA), has said there is latitude in the current system of selecting roads for repairs, saying programmes like the Jamaica Development Infrastructure Programme (JDIP) and the Jamaica Emergency Employment Programme (JEEP) allow the input of persons such as political representatives.
Shaw said the suggestions by East Rural St Andrew Member of Parliament (MP) Damion Crawford, that politicians should have the deciding voice in determining which roadway is fixed, is a matter for policy to decide.
"The NWA is an implementing agency, and so it is the purview of the Cabinet and the Parliament to set policies," Shaw said. "That decision is one that policymakers must make," he told The Gleaner on Wednesday.
At present, the NWA uses set criteria, which includes traffic count and the economic activity in an area, to determine which roads get repaired.
Shaw said while it is the case that MPs are sometimes able to influence repairs of roads based on their recommendation to the NWA, the decision to execute has to be a totally independent one.
Some US$50 million is to be spent under JEEP, effecting repairs to roadways and other infrastructure across the island. MPs are given the opportunity to recommend roads to be repaired.
The Government has rolled out a US$353-million infrastructure project, funded jointly by the China Ex-Im Bank and the Jamaican Government, which has been tagged the Major Develop-ment Infrastructure Programme. The aim of the programme is to secure the rehabilitation of approximately 430 kilometres of roads, deemed in need of urgent attention, to facilitate seamless vehicular movement; rehabilitation or construction of 27 bridges and retaining walls, and executing supporting protective works identified by the NWA; completion of subprojects started under the JDIP; and the provision of 23,000 jobs under JEEP.